East Carolina University Launches ‘Adulting’ Program to Teach Students How to Deal With Real Life

Finally, one university is giving us the tools we really need to succeed in life.

East Carolina University (ECU) has introduced an “Adulting” program into their curriculum to help students deal with the stresses and challenges of adult life. Think we’re kidding?

After noticing an increase in behavior issues, not to mention the fact that an alarming number of students were signing up for crisis counseling services, ECU felt obligated to launch the RIO program — Recognition, Insight and Openness — to teach self-talk, mindfulness, journaling and other stress management techniques.

ECU reported a 16 percent increase in student counseling appointments in the last two years, and those involving a self-reported “crisis” were up  52 percent.  Those numbers shocked officials on the Greenville, North Carolina, campus, shared ECU Director of Counseling Valerie Kisler-van Reede:

“It wasn’t just the numbers, it was the intensity and severity. It felt like something very different was going on — a lack of resiliency and the ability to cope. For years, college students cited depression as the main reason for seeking counseling help, but that has shifted. The number one complaint is anxiety — the feeling of being overwhelmed, and panic attacks. A lot of it is worry about college, but [students] are also worried more generally about managing their lives.”

A great deal of this inability to cope is due to the fact that due to social media many Millennial students don’t have the same opportunities to manage failure when they were growing up, as previous generations did:

“Technology, especially social media, also plays a part. People see picture-perfect versions of their friends’ and acquaintances’ lives and assume theirs ought to follow the same path. There’s no real normalization about what success is. Younger people think success is going from point A to point B without a lot of stuff in between, a straight shot.”

If we were studying at East Carolina University, we know we’d be signing up for one of those classes right away. Because adulting is hard.

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